In fact, they don’t budge … at all.
Especially the lovely historical metal gates. It seems the more ornate the finials the more dire the trap. Like Chinese handcuffs wrapped around their fragile little necks, the more eager they are to pull their head back out, the tighter the grip seems to be.
And although there is probably a full three days of food scraps in the bottom of my stroller, a helpful stick of butter is rare. Not impossible to scavenge, but rare.
So, there is crying.
And that’s just from me.
These are some of the lessons I have learned while pushing a stroller up and down the steep hills of our charming river town. Also, brakes on strollers are not just ornamental. The size of the city block triples when you are going uphill with a double stroller. And, if ever you are out of breath from such endeavors, you can count on the encouragement of a full trolley of onlookers. Be warned, though genuine in their intentions, it feels less than encouraging to have so many strangers clap and wave as you bend over in heat exhaustion.
I’m sure your children probably walk right next to your stroller, never dangling their pieces into gutter grates or old stone walls. I’m sure they never lay face up under gushing water gutters in the alley or try to straddle chain link fences that secure the neighborhood watchdog. Yours would probably pass at a game of mailbox leapfrog (at least after the first attempt) and would choose to walk right by the cavernous water drains without feeling obligated to toss in a new shoe. Always just one.
I’m sure you can give your children one warning to stay off that crumbling wall.
You can remind them, hypothetically, of the dangers of power lines.
Logical explanations probably lead to gleaming behavior in your home.
But I have yanked too many buttered cheeks out of metal fences to rely on these tactics any longer.
As far as my children know, there is a ravine troll that lives in a hollowed-out log at the bottom of the hill on North Fourth Street and Hickory. Though a simple story, it has made an impact apparently more significant than a face full of creamy butter.
A young boy refused to listen to his mother and went sledding by himself in the ravine. When he didn’t return in time for dinner, his family went searching for him. Trusting that he would follow the family rules, they didn’t look in the ravine for the boy. But on the way home, his sister found his sled and boots lying beside an old log on the ravine floor. He was never found.
A little evil.
And a little lucky, because sure enough, upon the first snowfall, we peeked through to see a broken sled lying by the log. (Thanks, neighbors!)
So their gait is a little faster at that intersection. Even my stoic 11-year-old doesn’t like to linger. And I no longer carry any condiments in my stroller (on purpose).
Now, I’ve not a lick of Irish in me, but trolls are awfully close to leprechauns in size, and well, the winter is getting too long.
Out my kitchen window I can see a little snow-swollen cave under our pool’s diving board that has escaped the relentless pounding of winter. My 9-year-old son repeatedly threatens to hide in this cave to avoid school, and I’m afraid he might try it and sink to the bottom.
So I had to tell him, “There’s leprechauns in there. I’ve been feeding them for weeks now. They like your shoes best.”
Yesterday, I threw a widowed boot right outside the edge of the cave.
Yesterday, he was the first one buckled snug inside the van for school.
And I thought those shoes down the rain gutter were a waste.
I believe that is shoe karma.